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Five Folsom runners pumped for States challenge

By: Matt Long Gold Country News Service
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Five Folsom-area runners will be among the competition at the 38th annual Western States 100-mile Endurance Run, which begins Friday in Squaw Valley south of Truckee and ends Saturday at Placer High in Auburn. The run follows rough terrain, usually accessible only by hikers, horses and helicopters. Once athletes reach Emigrant Pass (elevation 8,750), they follow the original trails used by the gold and silver miners of the 1850s, climbing another 15,540 feet and descending 22,970 feet before reaching Auburn. Runners are expected to complete the 100 miles in 30 hours. Folsom runners hoping to give locals a run for their money include Karyn Hoffman, 48, Jamie Frink, 38, Erik Skaden, 39, Charley Jones, 39 and El Dorado Hills resident John Nichols, 46. The following is excerpts of a question-and-answer survey sent to the competitors by Matt Long. Do you have a goal for this year’s race? JF - Originally I did, but given the snow and course changes, I think it is best to approach race day with a positive attitude and focus on having fun every step of the way. JN - I’d love to see something under 21 hours again, but I suspect the 30-plus miles of snow will slow things down. What motivates you to train? What keeps you going? KH - The fact that thousands want into WS100 and you are given the chance others would kill for makes you want to do your best. When I put a bib on it’s game on and there is no stopping, maybe momentary pauses. CJ - My motivation for doing Western States is that it’s a paramount challenge and being challenged makes life significantly more interesting. What are people’s reactions when you tell them what your hobby is? CJ - Their reaction is that they don’t even like driving 100 miles. What do you get out of all this hard work that makes it satisfying? KH - I love to push the limits and love the trails. I still have my day job since I can’t make a living at this. JF - I absolutely love everything about running 100 miles. For me it is an escape from the demands of life, I get to be out in the wilderness, listening to music, talking to people and just running. There is something pure and amazing about just running to run. It is in my opinion, like a day at the spa. ES - The satisfaction of establishing a goal, committing yourself to do the hard work and the personal satisfaction of following through provides a tremendous feeling of accomplishment. Is this race more physically demanding or mentally? JF - The mental part is definitely the most demanding part for me. At some point during the race it is likely that you will need to be able to give yourself a pep talk, do some problem solving, or just find a way to keep going. The body is capable; sometimes the mind just needs to be reminded of that. ES - The training leading up to the race is 90 percent physical and 10 percent mental. While on race day it switches to 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical. Meaning, if you are not mentally resolved to finish you won’t no matter what great physical shape you are in. CJ - The difficulty of the mental side of the race comes in when you’ve been on your feet for so long and you have to differentiate between injury, which is not good, or just plain misery which is normal in a long endurance event.